Oregon Women's Retreat Reaches 30th Anniversary

February 01, 2017 | Terrie Leen-Griebel

October 2016 marked the 30th anniversary of the Christian Women’s Retreat in the Oregon Conference. Women from Oregon, California and Washington met at Eagle Crest Resort in Redmond, Ore., to fellowship and celebrate women’s ministries.

Friday night opened with a video message from Ruthie Jacobsen, who named and founded Oregon's women's ministries by holding the first retreat in Oregon. Thereafter God has blessed the worked of many women to form this ministry that has spread nationwide.

This year Loretta Bacchiocchi, who passionately promotes CREATION (Choice, Rest, Environment, Activity, Trust, Interpersonal relationships, Outlook and Nutrition) Health, was the keynote speaker. Retreat attendees and live streamers both found Bacchiocchi to not only be an inspiring expert on health but also very passionate about having a personal relationship with Jesus. She shared her heartfelt passion throughout the weekend through her vulnerable and relatable personal experiences in her walk with Christ.

Most recently, Bacchiocchi lost her mother in a tragic accident within a few months of the retreat. When Terrie Leen Griebel, Oregon Conference women’s ministries coordinator, heard this, she called Bacchiocchi and gave her the option to cancel speaking so she could have time to mourn.

Bacchiocchi responded, “No, I feel God wants me to come to Oregon. But not just promoting health, but to also make it spiritual and connect the women with Jesus.” And that is just what happened at the anniversary of 30 years of women’s retreats in Oregon. Bacchiocchi inspired us to journey towards improved health and to seek a deeper abiding relationship in our Savior through His forgiveness, love and grace.

For the last three years, the Oregon Conference Women’s Retreat has been streamed live, allowing those unable to attend the retreat to have a blessing as well. “Loving these meetings. I am coming back to the SDA church ... and so grateful for the inspiration” was one comment during the live streaming from a viewer at home. Several women’s groups hosted the event in their churches or homes.

The many weekend activities included gifted speakers and musicians. Rise Rafferty spoke about nutrition, and Peggy Casebier on presented about stress. Rachel Griebel covered motivation, while Elise LeBlanc worked with the teens who attended. Lisa Marie Buster gave a concert.

Following the health tips, 30 women participated in the 5K Walk/Run for God on Sunday morning and received a ribbon with a medal for participating.

Weekend offerings over the weekend supported Impact Hope Ministries. Mindy Thygeson presented a message of 98 young women in Rwanda who are walking 8 kilometers each way to the nearest high school from their refugee camp. Many are being victimized and violated along the way. Their desire for schooling is so important they are willing to take the risks of abuse. Thygeson’s message so touched the women's hearts for these young ladies to go to an Adventist boarding academy, $9,300.00 was raised.

The 2016 retreat outreach was to the women's shelters of Redmond and Bend, Ore. The women at the retreat brought gifts for the shelters, and the women ministries leaders of the Bend and Redmond churches distributed the items to ladies in the shelters. The women delivering the gifts were blessed as well as the women receiving.

Many women expressed how they were blessed and felt the retreat was just what they needed. They shared a renewed love and spiritual refreshing. Lives were changed, and new friendships were formed. One participant said, “I have been blessed beyond words. I didn't know anyone when I came. I have been prayed for by women I just met, who are now my friends … . I have new friends, new prayer warriors, and a peaceful mind and love in my heart.”

Watch the 30th anniversary Christian Women's Retreat on YouTube.